How much of the financial situation of a landlord must his agent disclose?

634 North Street

634 North Street

Yesterday’s open house for 634 North Street, that house bracketed side and rear by the Merritt Parkway and now seeking $24,500 per month rent, set me pondering this, because the place is mired in litigation and, sooner or later, is going to end up in its lender’s possession. What happens to the tenant then?

The owner of this structure, Richard Caires, paid $1.4 million for the land it sits on back in 2006, a purchase entirely financed by Washington Mutual- now defunct, and we all wonder why-$1 million first, $280,000 second. It was refinanced in 2007 to the tune of $5.5 million (WTF!?), and when Caires couldn’t sell this spec he filed a preemptive lawsuit against WaMu’s successor, JP Morgan Chase alleging, basically, that WaMu should have known better than to lend him money.

That case has been kicking around since 2009, with every imaginable pleading tossed about, and just last week Caire’s attorneys claimed it for a jury trial, thus ensuring another four-year delay. That all bodes well for someone who might rent this property, but what happens if the case is speeded up or, God forbid, moves toward settlement?

A valid lease should be proof against eviction, but there might be appraisers demanding access, foreclosure committees and bank representatives crawling down the chimney and who knows? I think if I were a tenant I’d want to know about all this, but I’m not sure the owner’s representative has an obligation to disclose it. The renter’s agent should probably do that investigation but to be honest few agents. including myself, check the financial situation of a rental property unless something or someone tips us off.

Consider this a tipoff.


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20 responses to “How much of the financial situation of a landlord must his agent disclose?

  1. Reader

    He should have sued the architect instead.

    • Certainly one of the ugliest bits of new construction seen in greenwich during the boom, but perhaps he just wanted it to fit in with the homes across the street on Loch Lane.

      • housecat

        Oh, I don’t know… I think the Disney Castle has a *slight* edge over the Medieval Times restaurant on Loch in terms of aesthetics – although, sadly, it probably doesn’t come with the serfs and private jousting space. I guess the extra $5mil didn’t cover that…

    • dogwalker

      Agreed. He probably would have had a better chance of selling it if he had painted it pink. As long as you are going after the fairy tale look, go all out.

  2. burningmadolf

    In a just world, at least a little tip off would be nice. However, if for what ever reason, someone is willing to park themselves, families and possessions in this house at this location, then maybe nothing can (or should) be done to protect them.

      • burningmadolf

        I know, but I can’t help it. When even a simpleton like myself sees that a place like this can’t pass the smell test then I have very little sympathy. Hasn’t this spot (pre/post spec) been on the market in one form or another for like 15 years?

  3. CEA

    There’s a picture, scroll down, of a lush-haired Richard Caires at a local fest here:—oktoberfest

    There’s another pic on his Twitter account “Greenwichrich”

    He also considers himself an inventor, and has an energy business – Clearwindmills – registered to the North Street address – so perhaps he is tilting at these with all the lawsuits?

    Perhaps you’ve seen him on the water on his boat, “Rich’s Angels”?


    • Hmm – so his boat’s being auctioned off and he’s also defending a foreclosure suit up in Danbury Superior Court: he gets around. Maybe Fairfield County Look will provide some action litigation shots?

  4. Greenwich Dude

    This monstrosity is a spec house? I thought it was built by Aladdin for Jasmine. Taught me not to jump to conclusions…

  5. Beadish

    Interesting how tastes differ. I drive by this house on the way home from work and I’ve thought it was cool since the first day I saw it.

    • Mickster

      Funnily enough, I’ve always liked it. When it used to be lit up at night I thought it looked spectacular! There was one evening when there must have been a party on and couples were getting out of their cars in the port-cochere. I expected to see Cinderella step out of a carriage.

  6. Stanwich

    “Oheka on the Merritt” style is horrendous. Anyone involved in this deal should be rounded up and summarily executed (just kidding). Didn’t the grand doyenne of Greenwich real estate, Tamar Lurie, have this listing at one point?

    • anonymous

      There are a couple old dames in this burg who might dispute Tamar Lurie being labelled a grand doyenne. A cutthroat Israeli ex Mossad operative, maybe. Just say’n…

  7. Cobra

    Looks like (what I’ve been told looks like) a high-end Kazakh crack bordello…where’s Borat?

  8. Anonymous

    Last week I saw a bunch of goblins jumping out of the black range rover that parks there. Either something kinky goes on after hours, or the goblins heard about the portal to the netherworld. It’s supposedly in a closet within the finished basement (or at least that’s what the craigslist ad said).

  9. Matt

    Chris, here is a better photo of the house. lol